Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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News of the Weird 5/7/15

By Chuck Shepherd

Donating for Dollars Already, healthy people can donate blood, sperm and eggs, but now the nonprofit OpenBiome offers donors $40 for bowel movements—to supply “fecal transplants” for patients with nasty C. difficile bacterial infections. (“Healthy” contents are transplanted into the infected gut via endoscope or frozen swallowed capsules so that the good bacteria drive out the antibiotic-resistant bad.) Over 2,000 transplant units have been shipped to 185 hospitals so far, and OpenBiome allows daily “donations” so that, with bonuses, a donor could earn $13,000 a year. However, extensive medical questioning and stool-testing is required, and only about 4 percent of potential donors have exquisite-enough feces to qualify.

Remembrance Technology In March, the U.S. patent office approved Google’s application covering robot software that mimics human personalities (voice, mannerisms) using a variety of moods (happiness, fear, surprise) with a notable use that family members might employ it to continue to “interact” with a loved one after he has passed. One disquieting possibility might allow a deceased person to be directed to act in ways that the person never acted while alive.

Entrepreneurship: (1) A curious woman, inspired by her own mother’s attachment to her unlaundered pillowcases following the death of her dad, has partnered with France’s Universite du Havre to produce a person’s bottled scent by processing old clothing. A September rollout is planned, with the probable retail price of about $600. (2) Artist Mark Sturkenboom has described plans for an even more remarkable remembrance device (if the deceased is male): a dildo that holds 21 grams of cremated ashes (accessorized, perhaps for non-sexual “cover,” by a necklace and music player). “After passing,” Sturkenboom explained, “the missing of intimacy” is “one aspect of the pain and grief.”

Bright Ideas Prison breaks in Latin American countries are often staged with cooperative, corrupt guards. However, the escape by 28 inmates in February from the Nova Mutum prison near Cuiaba, Brazil, was engineered by three make-believe “dominatrixes” (in police costumes), who playfully handcuffed the guards, knocked them out with sedatives and unlocked the cells. (The guards were found the next day, still handcuffed and naked.)

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